Mind Growing, The New Leadership ABC in a Nutshell

The New Leadership ABC is a simple acronym that I’ve developed to help leaders create a passionate, engaged workplace culture. The full concept is introduced in more detail in my book Mind Growing.

Underpinning this new approach to leadership is the recognition that different brain areas all play an important role in our behaviors.

When we recognize and nourish these different parts of our brain, we can create an ideal work environment in which people can flourish. In this sense, we are Mind Growing.

What is the New Leadership ABC?

The New Leadership ABC is about staying in the “lead” in modern organizations – which operate in more dynamic and volatile environments than ever before. Rather than leading through control, however, it is about layout out boundaries for a clear ‘playing field’ and setting a direction for co-workers and the organization.

It is about replacing instructions and micromanagement with meaning, safety, and predictability so that people can act with autonomy and purpose.

In a nutshell, the New Leadership ABC replaces the many “strings” of control – rules, procedures, etc – with three key strings instead:

A: Ambition
B: Boundaries
C: Coaching

By pulling these three strings, leaders can move away from excessive micromanagement, standardization, and similar – toward a happy, healthy organization. One where people can find their own effective solutions to achieve the collective ambition.

1. Ambition

Ambition = authentic, meaningful goals that make it worthwhile for co-workers to get out of bed each day.

Ambition is direction, and it comes from the heart. When a leader creates a shared ambition for their organization, they are creating a clear purpose that they can engage other people with.

To inspire and drive others, ambition can be further developed by inviting input and participation from colleagues. When people are engaged in defining this direction, they will be more motivated to support and even – ideally – to own it.

2. Boundaries

Boundaries = Core values that define the desired, acceptable behaviors and solutions within the company you want to lead.

Introducing boundaries to your company is one way to create limits and set expectations regarding how people can act – a ‘playing field’. Rather than designing new ‘solutions’ through roles and operational processes, boundaries can liberate as well as limit.

Boundaries allow for safety and structure in an organization, so they should be crystal clear. With clear boundaries, co-workers know the extent to which they are free to take initiative. Without them, people often hesitate to be proactive for fear of crossing them.

Ambition + Boundaries = Leadership DNA

Together, Ambition and Boundaries are a code – rather like DNA. They are the core genetic makeup of your leadership and the organization you want to shape.

With direction and a playing field, your co-workers’ actions and interactions are guided by purpose and possibilities.

3. Culture and Coaching

Strong leaders take an active role in steering their companies from a higher level. By defining Ambition and Boundaries, you have a powerful leadership framework in place – but more is needed.

Coaching helps you create a culture in which people take initiative.

To do this, a leader can establish whether people are:

– Aware of the organization’s expectations for them, and the importance of demonstrating initiative;
– Willing to live up to these expectations;
– Able to do so; and
– Daring enough to change their behavior.

Leaders can coach their co-workers according to these four aspects, empowering them to demonstrate initiative and take ownership of their actions.

For now, I’ll leave you with these thoughts – which my book Mind Growing explains in further detail. What matters now is that the Mind Growing Leadership ABC is a powerful way to build emotionally connected organizations. With inspiring, meaningful direction, a clear playing field, and active coaching, it is possible to motivate people intrinsically and move toward a nourishing style of leadership.